The Oxford Real Farming Conference

The Oxford Real Farming Conference is over and was apparently a great success, though you wouldn’t even know it had taken place from the mainstream media.
We reproduce below a report of it from Wicked Leeks – an online magazine published by Riverford Organic Farmer. This article gives a flavour of the activity that ORFC gives a platform to.
The key themes they showcased in advance were:
  • Resilience and the road to COP26
  • The importance of healthy soil
  • Resisting corporate take-overs of seed and food systems
  • The value of indigenous knowledge
  • Redressing racial inequity in our food system
  • The future of UK farming
  • Biodiversity loss and the impact on our health

A melting-pot of change makers
ORFC small farms
Indigenous farming perspectives, land ownership, agroecological farming and how to enact change were some of the key themes from the seven-day Oxford Real Farming Conference, which took place between 8-13 January.The alternative farming event, which this year went global and virtual for the first time, was attended by thousands of visitors from 75 countries, and was described as a “melting pot” of thinkers and change-makers.

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Bill Gates’ Green Counterrevolution in Africa

This article from Jacobin argues that whilst The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promised Africa a “Green Revolution” to fight hunger and poverty, in reality this hasn’t worked. Corporate agriculture’s profits have increased at the expense of local farmers who are being left empty-handed, and hunger is rising.

Bill and Melinda Gates. (Wikimedia Commons)

By Jan Urhahn, translated by Loren Balhorn.

Over the last five years, the number of people around the world suffering from hunger has been on the rise. Against this backdrop, a decades-old debate continues to rage, asking which agricultural approaches can provide everyone with sufficient healthy food.

One simplistic answer comes from governments in the Global North (and so, too, some in the Global South). They claim that international agribusiness could end global hunger if only it had the means to do so, boosting agricultural productivity through the use of pesticides, hybrid seeds, and other external inputs.

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Don’t forget the HS2 campaigners this Christmas

By Rob Marsden, Tamworth CLP

Whilst many of us have been distracted by other things in 2020, work on HS2 has continued apace, cutting its swathe through the English countryside, through homes and farms and ancient woodlands from London to the Midlands. Devastating communities and ecosystems alike.

However, there is still active resistance- campaigns continue all along the route and a number of small but determined camps are still in place.

I would urge readers to get in touch with the nearest camp to you, find out if there is anything they need in the way of provisions or equipment and organise a small group to visit and spread a little festive cheer.

PHOTOS: Camp at Handsacre near Lichfield

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French energy unions strike in defense of public energy

This article is taken from the very useful and informative Trade Unions For Energy Democracy website.

For the past several weeks, electricity and gas workers in France have been striking in defense of public ownership of energy. The strike actions have been called by French energy sector  union federations FNME-CGT, CFE-CGC Énergies, FO Energie et Mines and FCE-CFDT. Continue reading “French energy unions strike in defense of public energy”

Hydrogen for homes- a terrible idea!

This article first appeared at People and Nature.

A plan to pipe hydrogen, instead of natural gas, to millions of UK households is being pushed hard by the fossil fuel industry. It sounds “green” – but could wreck efforts to make homes truly zero carbon, using insulation and electric heat pumps.

Oil and gas companies support switching the gas grid to hydrogen, as a survival option in case of decarbonisation, as hydrogen is usually fabricated from gas.

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The Climate And Ecological Emergency Bill- a vital initiative

Red-Green Labour welcomes the Climate And Ecological Emergency Bill as a serious attempt to pass into law measures to limit global temperature rises due to greenhouse gas emissions to no more than 1.5 degrees and also to protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity.

Crucially the Bill puts forward the idea of a Citizens Assembly to drive forward the process of combatting climate change.

We urge all Labour and progressive MPs to support this important initiative.

The Bill and an executive summary can be found here:

Not fit for purpose- Johnson’s 10-point Eco-plan

Johnson’s much vaunted 10-point eco-plan is totally inadequate as a green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis – or build-back greener as he likes to put it, writes Alan Thornett.

His claim that the package would create up to 250,000 jobs is a sick joke. Even the £12bn funding for it is fake, since only 3 billion of it is new money.

Labour has rightly called it “deeply, deeply disappointing”, saying it would neither properly tackle the climate emergency nor the jobs crisis caused by coronavirus – and they are right. Continue reading “Not fit for purpose- Johnson’s 10-point Eco-plan”